I stare into the mirror, watching the fat slithering shapes writhing under my skin, distorting my face into a grotesque parody of humanity. In a panic, I try squashing them down with my hands, begging them to disappear. They don't hide under the surface for long before returning.
261 words (1 minute)
When it comes to summoning demons, most folks think of summoning circles drawn in blood or portals glowing brightly in mid-air. Sure, they're flashy and the most obvious ways to summon a Big One, but that's not how most demons arrive here.
792 words (4 minutes)
The screaming of my alarm wakes me up as it does every morning. I feel like hell. Like every part of me was taken apart and reassembled. That's not unusual, but today I sure don't feel like I can tolerate going in to work, getting berated, feeling useless, doing nothing of value.
184 words (1 minute)
To have stumbled into the favor of some oneiric power is to awake each morning gripped with impulses not entirely your own, mind stuffed with fresh memories from a night of visions more wild and vivid than ordinary dreaming or even waking life.
The thing in your skull stirs.
215 words (1 minute)
"Never enough. It's never enough."
Mad, scrawled ravings and arcane symbols stretch across papers strewn throughout the room. Lines carved in the wood flooring bear the stains of blood and other unidentifiable fluids.
153 words (1 minute)
"I'm worried. You've been spending a lot of time gazing at the Midnight Spire lately. Is something wrong?"
I stop on my way out the door. "No, I'm fine," I lie. I scratch at my arms absent-mindedly and try to control the writhing things under my skin. "I just like it is all."
296 words (1 minute)
The wyrm writhes within your guts, bringing such acute pain that you have to force yourself to bite off the screams your throat involuntarily produces.
You have to remind yourself that you swallowed this thing on purpose—this pain is a necessary step of your symbiotic journey.
1191 words (6 minutes)
I peer through the glass into the holding chamber. The specimen within paces aimlessly, without purpose or direction, interacting with nothing inside.
"What's wrong with it?" I ask.
"She's been restless and agitated like this since we separated her from the others."
812 words (4 minutes)
I attack myself more with the exfoliating scrub, putting my whole arm into the effort until fatigue precludes continuing.
It hardly seems to make a difference in the hard, scaly patches developing across my arms and legs.
Slathering the moisturizer on, I finish my routine.
1228 words (6 minutes)
I must be careful. It is frighteningly easy to forget what sleeps in my blood, but as long as I take sufficient care, we will all stay safe. I will not need to be caged.
I'll find the cure for myself, and nobody will need to learn about my lapse of judgment.
813 words (4 minutes)
"It's kinda romantic, don't you think?" the mechanic asks, staring at the massive combat unit.
1497 words (7 minutes)
My colleague and partner—the only one who understands me on any meaningful level—ignores my pleas and my thrashing against these restraints to inject me with the same substance that killed all our test subjects.
She is a monster, and it was me who encouraged her to be so.
949 words (5 minutes)
Your coworker at the Bureau is a faerie. That's fine, right? Everyone else obviously thinks so—or at least politely ignores this obvious fact—even if letting her roam freely seems to be antithetical to the whole purpose of the organization you work for.
496 words (2 minutes)
Pray to the stars, for they are eternal.
Pray for your soul, that the stars may keep it safe when you pass on from this life.
Pray to them in life, if you value the sanctity of your selfhood, that the stars may swiftly find your pure spirit in death.
774 words (4 minutes)
The water churns with the thrashing bodies of countless swimming parasites. It's hard to get a good look at them like this. All I can pick out is a handful of individual details—tendrils, rows of tiny teeth, beady eyes. I have to put my arm in there and let one choose me.